What’s New: The Good and the Uh-oh!
Since my last article I graced the stage at the second largest bodybuilding show in the world—the 2016 Arnold Classic, just two months after my last spread in this magazine! I also made an appearance on Good Morning America doing a workout segment! Then last year, 2017, I prepped and hit the stage for my third pro show— Tampa Pro! Then, a few days after that I got hit by a car as I was walking across the street! I ended up with a broken foot, a tear in my left ankle and both knees, and a left elbow contusion! I was homebound for a month, had to use crutches for four months, and wore a boot with a knee and ankle brace for seven months! And right now I’m finishing physical therapy, which I’ve been doing since last August! I’m blessed and thankful that I wasn’t killed or lose my leg— which is what I thought had happened at the moment the car hit me!
I wasn’t able to weight train or do any exercises with my legs until this past March. I started gradually with lighter weights to strengthen my ligaments and tears in my legs in physical therapy. I’m still not allowed to do cardiovascular exercises, but I got clearance this past January to go to the gym which was heaven-sent!
What I Learned
Know your body. If I weren’t vegan, I feel I would have gained a lot of weight during when I couldn’t train. I would look out of shape by now. But thanks to my whole food plant-based choices, I maintained a decent shape, which is great! But I didn’t just lie around waiting to get better. Even when I was homebound, as soon as my elbow contusion healed a bit, I did bodyweight exercises like push-ups. I would have gone insane if I had not moved my body like that!
Always do what you can, no matter what challenges arise in life— never just do NOTHING! Fitness-wise, no matter the circumstances, if you can’t train, then at least don’t pig out on junk! I’m not gonna lie—I enjoyed some vegan junk food because my mental state was shot. Thankfully I didn’t take it too far!
My accident, which could have taken my life in an instant, was definitely a wake-up call for me. Life is short and can be taken away from anyone at any given time. Now I tell myself to take the leap and do things that scare me— even when I think maybe I’m not ready. I’m living more. I say what I mean and do things I wouldn’t have done before!
I am fortunate that I had a psychologist to talk to weekly because mental trauma is real. I am also fortunate to have such a great family and friends who love me and are great to talk to on my down days!
For my comeback I've been working on myself each day to become a better version of me! I'm in my 10th month of physical therapy, which is helping my recovery. I am so grateful for that, and to be able to go to the gym again. I finally got clearance this past January, which was five months after my accident. The gym is my happy place! I'm not able to do my old heavy leg workouts yet, but I'm taking my time so that I will be even better than before!
For my comeback to the stage, I’ll be guest posing at the IFBB Pro show: Victor Martinez’s Legends of Bodybuilding Championships on August 25th in New York. That day will be exactly a year and two weeks from my accident! So, it will be especially meaningful as I do what I love, while getting to entertain the crowd without getting judged! Victor is like a brother to me and he checked in on me throughout my recovery. I was supposed to do my first guest posing appearance for his Legends show last year, but got sidelined by my accident.
After that, I will choose my fourth IFBB Pro show and get back up there to compete! In the meantime, I’m writing a book. I’ve added a lot about this “downfall” in my life so that I can show everyone that if you get knocked down and come close to losing your life like I did, you just have to push yourself to get up. You have to fight harder to overcome challenges because they can affect you in many ways! Putting my thoughts and feelings out in the open in my book definitely helps me mentally (that, and finally getting back in the gym!). My hope is that something I learned will help others too.
P.S. I plan to have the book completed and available for sale by this December!